Episode 04: Why Do I Need To Get Better At Selling?

Dr. Margo Aaron

Episode 04: Why Do I Need To Get Better At Selling?

Episode 4
52:20

About the Guest:

Buyers are skeptical when searching for products, services, and information online. You need to build trust through solid brand messaging and content to stand out and make a lasting impact. However, sometimes it becomes harder and harder to stand out in the crowd–so why not get better at copy by following the advice from Margo Aaron in this episode?

Margo Aaron is a proud graduate of Emory University (BA), Columbia University (MA), and altMBA, where she won the prestigious Walker Award. She was a psychological researcher, and then she accidentally landed as a Marketer. Now she is a writer who created “The Copy Workshop” and a Co-host: Hillary and Margo Yell at Websites. She was also named one of the “Top 100 Websites for Writers” by The Write Life and “One of the 100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs” by One Woman Shop. She helps people to build trust and stand out online.

Tune in and learn more in this conversation!

Resources Mentioned

  1. To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others by Daniel H. Pink: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0087GJ8KM/
  2. Seth Godin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sethgodin/
  3. The Copy Workshop: https://www.akimbo.com/thecopyworkshop
  4. Akimbo: https://www.akimbo.com/

Connect With Margo Aaron

Website: https://www.thatseemsimportant.com/

Medium: https://medium.com/@margoaaron

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/margoaaron

Twitter: https://twitter.com/margoaaron

Listen to the specific part

01:57
Margo talked about her background and journey as a psychologist and writer.
04:54
Experiences of misinformation that really open the reality of stigma.
08:56
Give people factual information but trust them to make their own judgment.
13:04
What is copywriting and how it is different from an essay, creative writing etc.
18:40
ips and advice to those people who just started to build trust online.
22:09
How did Margo deal with what her colleagues and friends think about her when she decides to shift into Copywriting?
23:58
How did she met Seth Godin and get associated with copy workshop
30:02
Information is not the Important part in the courses but what you asked them to do and questions have been
33:53
Forget about your Ego and just focus on the outcome.
35:38
Discovering your inner pattern and how you can conquer your fear to market effectively.
37:28
Commit to the process and not to the outcome.
40:02
Perfectionism - how does it affect you positively and negatively.
42:55
How to find your voice without sounding like a used car salesman.
48:17
Prove yourself in actions not just in words.
49:26
Where did Margo spend too much time on, but later wished that she should have done differently.

Episode Transcript:

 

[0:00] Margo: When you are sincere in how you show up when you're not posturing when you are not trying to prove something to people. When you just are able to say hey I have this product I think it can help you here's why this is why I left that organization. Here's why I started this company here are the reasons why I think this coaching service is for you and just speak from the heart in that way the trust happens. 

 

Like it happens over time and it is built-in drifts like you're you're right to point that out like it takes it takes time but it's also you showing up and being who you said you would I think that readers are not stupid they know so when you're posturing or when you are competing or you are trying to be something you're not like that that shines through more than people realize

 

[0:45] Pranay: Hi and welcome to the Frommd to Entrepreneur podcast a podcast that teaches you how to find financial security outside of medicine I’m Dr. Pranay Parikh and I started out as a fresh attendee with zero business knowledge despite loving my job and medicine I didn't feel like I had the financial security or control over my life today. I am a serial entrepreneur and practice medicine on my own terms listen on to learn how i've helped hundreds to do the same

 

This week it's my pleasure to speak to Margo Aaron, ex-psychological researcher and now famed copywriter. She realized that despite her best efforts it's hard to get anyone to care even for stuff that's in their best interest, this episode Margo teaches us how to market without feeling sleazy and why you owe it to yourself your patients, and future customers to be able to write better copy. Hey Margo, how are you doing well?

 

[01:45] Margo: Thanks for having me 

 

[01:46] Pranay: Super excited to talk. I've wanted to talk to you for a while so thank you for joining us 

 

[01:50[ Margo: It's my pleasure

 

[01:51] Pranay: So Margo for the few people that don't know about you do you mind telling us a little bit about you?

 

[01:57] Margo: Sure. So I am a writer. I teach copywriting and I call myself an accidental marketer because I, uh, I'm a recovering academic. I started my career as a psychological researcher. I thought I was going to be a research professor in life and it was inside of a research lab a couple of years in.

 

That I discovered that one of the problems we had is actually called marketing and I'd never really heard of marketing or copywriting. I mean, I knew it vaguely as something that business people do who are not as smart as academics. And it was something that, this sounds really terrible to say out loud, but like we considered it below us, you know, like marketers and, and sales and things like that was not something that.

You wanted to associate yourself with. So when I found myself in the lab as a research assistant, one of my jobs was outreach and getting, uh, participants to enroll in our studies. And I didn't realize now I would call that lead generation and qualifying leads. I mean, you name the acronym. I had to be certified in it in order to qualify people for the study, but, but it same skills applied and, and I was really frustrated with how terrible we were at getting people in the door for.

Ostensibly was free treatment. Um, so I work specifically in a psychiatric mood and anxiety disorder clinic, and, um, we were offering free mental health treatment. And I was shocked at how hard it was to get people in the door. And this idea drove me nuts. And I took, I took it with me to graduate school and every time I was in class, it'd be like, well, hold on.

Can we talk about how the masses understand the information we're talking about and how they can't understand the language we use? They're not resonating with the things that we're saying, and you're assuming they know things that they don't know. So I was specifically in, uh, in psychology. I went to graduate school for psychology, stopped at my master's because I realized that I could make a much bigger impact in the way that I wanted to.

In marketing, which I call applied psychology. So I accidentally fumbled my way over here and discovered the art and science of copywriting, which is using words to inspire action is really founded on a foundation of psychological principles of, uh, And being able to perspective, take and meet people where they are.

So a lot of the same tools that I learned clinically were really relevant to doing marketing effectively and ethically, but it's not how I was taught to think about marketing or start to think about sales. So my background's in academia and I landed myself here in this entrepreneurial world. So I understand that.

 

[04:38] Pranay: Yeah Margo isn't it crazy that we have people who are forward-facing talking to the patients talking to press talking and all this stuff and they're usually the lowest in the totem pole right because everyone else couldn't be helped to do that yeah

 

[04:54] Margo: This specifically drives me nuts because I don't know what your experience was like when you were in school but I know we disparaged self-help.

 

I mean we saw it as something that you don't want to touch with a 10-foot pole and I remember when I was in graduate school, and I found myself at I think it was some graduate school panel and people were having these discussions and they were spreading misinformation about psychology and about mental health and about support and about therapy. 

 

And I was like where are you getting this from and it was all that stuff about manifesting and a lot of woo-woo stuff and not all of it is bad truly not all of it is bad but the fact that there was no um vetting of information. And I remember feeling so caught in graduate school between what I was learning and what I knew to be true and what was evidence-based and what was data-based and what we know. Which by the way is so much we know some really amazing stuff but no one would step out of the academy, and go to the mainstream, and talk to people in a way that they could hear you.

 

And that inability to translate the data to information that someone not only wants like recognize they need but then can implement and take action on that kept me up at night like that's really how I ended up in copywriting because I was like we have a problem here. I'm sure this happens to medical doctors but I know when you're in graduate school for psychology a lot of people come up to you and share their secrets.

 

You know they say like,  you know i'm on this medication I'm wondering about this they thought I was a licensed clinical psychologist which I was not right. I was getting a research degree but people feel like you're a safe person to confide in and I was really blown away at how much psychological ignorance there was in the mainstream, even especially in my friends but also in professional circles where there were things that the academy assumes you know that you do not know.

 

 And I know that the second I started to put myself in a more what would call it more public or did more things that were more mainstream out of the academy not necessarily a journal article like I published an editorial my professors were like that's not something that we do and there was there's a lot of stigmas. 

 

And I encountered that and I decided that I just didn't care anymore because it was too important and I find that you know. If you're listening to this and you do have a graduate degree and you are smart and you're someone who cares about information and data and the people that you seek to serve, like there is no more important conversation than how you talk to them and how you take like you need to be in this space. 

 

We need you because there are so many charlatans out there who are really good at marketing really clear in their communication very persuasive very charming. And they are spreading dangerous information and this is why I wish more people who had licensure or had the pedigree or have the credentials or simply have the integrity can show up in these places and win and be on top and be the ones that are commanding the attention , that are educating audiences and helping people because that's what we really set out to do in the first place

 

[07:55] Pranay: Yeah you know these days you can't just win with data and facts you know you can't just say I'm gonna make this hour-long talk It's gonna be super boring but because It has the right information and because you have an MD or do or any other type of degree 2 masters that people are going to listen to you. 

 

They're not they're going to listen to you know mom 47 on Tiktok right? because she has a million followers and potentially.  Actually so I have an 11-month old

Yeah thank you it is so hard to know what the right information is can you feed them cows milk can you not feed them cow's milk? 

 

Like this is just like one of the 20 things I have to figure out daily you know like this day-to-day stuff they don't teach you in medical school. So I'm like looking stuff up and google is your enemy when it comes to that because it'll be like uh mom 48's blog tells you to do this.  You know i have six children this is my experience 

 

[08:56] Margo: And, and a lot of people don't know how to sift through that. And I think in many ways, the academic community over-correct and the other direction, like they're so afraid to assert an opinion or a point of view. And I think. A magical thing happens when you don't assume that your reader is stupid, but also is able, are able to meet them where they are, because the people we speak to didn't go to medical school.

Like my readers didn't they don't have degrees in psychology. They don't know how to read. They don't know what a P value is. And so I'm not going to sit here and tell them this is part of why I don't, I don't explain studies when I write, I read that. But I don't explain them. And I also don't minimize them because I think that there's a huge problem where people will take like a conclusion and they'll generalize it and you see that a lot in media.

Um, but I think a really amazing thing happens when you've earned someone's trust. And you can say, this is my personal opinion. Um, this is what we do here in my company and my business. This is our perspective. Here's the data. If you want to go deeper, but this is what we do here. Okay. Treating people like people and trusting them to be able to make a decision, but then doing them the favor of sifting through that data.

I, my daughter's three and a half now. And so I remember the stage that you're in. Um, and it's re I mean, like the fear-mongering is next level and everyone is pretending to be at, you know, any goals. One here was my experience here is why, you know, this thing will kill your child no matter. Here, you know, here's what you need to do.

And then there's so much moralizing. If you don't do this, you're a bad person. Um, and that seems to generate a lot of attention and clicks and that doesn't mean it's valuable information. Um, and so part of what you can do to stand out is treat your meter with respect. You know, don't actually lie to them.

Don't actually sensationalize. Don't make it about them being a better person or a worse person. But tell them the truth of what's going on, but simplify it, make it so they understand don't make them feel stupid because that's what the majority of people in on with our backgrounds do is that they make their meter still stupid or they go way too deep on details that no one's paying attention to.

So like, what I try and remember is I think, I think we talked about this in the copy workshop. I can't remember, but my friend came up with this concept called toilet. So you just assume whoever is reading your stuff is sitting on the toilet. And, um, and it's not that they're not thorough readers and it's not that they're not smart, it's that they are busy and distracted.

And so part of what you want to think about when you are approaching copy, whether that's through your blog or your website copy, or what you write in an email or what you put inside of a caption on Facebook, or what you write in a letter to someone, all of those things should assume that the person is skimming it.

And if they are going to say. What one or two things do you want them to take away? If you have that in mind, you can get that level of clarity. You will have no trouble communicating with them in a strong way that inspires them to take action and trust you. Yeah. You know,

[11:51] Pranay: ​​Margo, I've realized that I write copy every day.

And so does every doctor, right? And it's on that prescription box or it's on a piece of paper that you tell your patients, and it's so important because, you know, unlike other people, probably 90, 95, a hundred percent of people read that. Right. They read those sentence or two. And it's so important. So for example, um, a lot of times we don't even put, um, what the medications for, and if it's, you know, Hey, this is super important, you know, you need to take this.

They get it. Are you going to like have a heart attack in 10 years or something? You know, it's, it's so important that we're writing this every day and it's, it's, we're, we're doing them a disservice by not taking a second to think, because I know I'm guilty of this, where the very last thing you do is write prescriptions for someone.

And you're just, you're busy. You have 10 other patients to see, you know, but it's so important. So just taking an extra second and being like, okay, How do I make sure that this person takes this medication? Because I actually believe that this is going to save their life or improve their health in the future.

So, yeah, you're right. It's so important. We all right. Call. 

[13:04] Margo:   So for people who are unfamiliar with the concept of copy, cause I really was, the copy is the strategic use of words to inspire an action. It is different than writing an essay. It is different than journalism. It is different than creative writing.

All of those skills are useful, but it's not elucidation, right? It is. It is. And it's not elocution, right? It is using persuasion levers and. And things that you know about human psychology to meet someone where they. So you can take them where they want to go, not where you want to go. Right. It's where they want to go and use that outcome should align.

So in the example of the lab, I used to work for, we wanted, what I wanted, the outcome I wanted to inspire was getting people to call the lab to say, Hey, I think I might qualify for the study. Right? That was the action I wanted them to take. Eventually I wanted them to enroll and become a patient. Um, but I really needed that first.

That is something that I wanted, but I didn't need to be manipulative about it. And I didn't need to be coercive and I didn't need to push. I needed to figure out how that aligned with what they needed and who we were trying to reach, where people who had been never previously diagnosed with major depressive disorder and never.

And so in order to do that, I had to answer the question what's in it for them. Why would they care? Why would someone who suspects? They have major depressive disorder and is in an episode that would meet criteria with very rigid standards. We had to meet qualification. Why would they pick up the phone?

And that was the discussion I never had with myself. I started to, but that's not how you're taught to think about it in the academy, the way I was taught to think about it. My boss, who was the principal investigator of the study said. Print out this flyer, it had very jargony language on it. Uh, it had mostly DSM five or he have some four at the time.

Um, jargon, no common person knows what the Donia is. Right. Let alone, like, do you have middle insomnia, early insomnia? Like they don't know. Are you. No, no, no. Um, and, and sometimes we overcorrect in the other direction where we'd ask, like, have you been feeling sad or down? And that's, you know, that's just patronizing.

The language was patronized. It was condescending. It always, for some reason, you guys, this is my anecdote, but I swear to God prove me wrong. Every psychological flyer has a butterfly on it. And there was. Uh, fricking butterfly.

Here's a curious, no copywriting taught me a why. I think it's so important using extending. This example is I was so young and really didn't understand. It was just trying to not get in trouble from my boss. I took these flyers. I printed them out. I put them in patient waiting rooms. I put them on people's cars.

I put them in coffee shops. Now, if you pause and do what they teach you in copywriting, which is to take a copy posture, which means taking. And take the perspective of the patient that you are trying to. Now I put myself in the shoes of someone who is going through a depressive episode. Number one, no way I'm going to a coffee shop, right?

If I'm in the middle of depressive episode, like we chose the wrong channel. I'm not doing anything in public. If I do happen to step into a coffee shop, that is the bravest thing I have done. And there is no way I'm going to reach up to the corkboard where I posted this. Surely if I've had never diagnosed depression.

Cause that tells me, I either don't have the awareness of it or there's a huge amount of stigma for why I haven't come out earlier. So none of it makes sense. And then why would I resonate with the language? Never in my life, in all of my years, as a researcher and a writer, have I heard someone describe themselves as I feel blue?

Do you know what people say? When they have depression? You probably know listeners because statistically either it's you or someone, you know, right. You feel nothing. That's the symptom. Right? And you feel nothing. You don't feel like yourself and you feel shame. So had we started there with the conversation and then said, what is a message that will resonate with this person that helps them feel seen and not.

Then we could have opened the door to conversation and we could have helped a lot more people. And that is the skill of it. Copy opens up.

[17:23] Pranay: Exactly. You know, even at the hospital, just trying to approach these people. And, you know, I found that once you improve the, your ability to write down stuff on paper, it kind of helps you think in that way.

 

Right. Because what you said is exactly how you would kind of approach a patient like that. Right. You see someone who just, you know, just, they just sit there and maybe they're not really participating. And, you know, they. You have an iPad. They're not using it. They're not watching TV and you know, maybe they are, or they're not taking any of their medications, so maybe they are depressed, you know, and being able to approach them.

And you know, it's funny in know hospital. Yeah. We asked those same questions, you know, do you have no desire for sex,

[18:05] Margo: Who's gonna answer that honestly to a stranger I mean really

 

[18:13] Pranay: Yeah uh you know uh one thing that you talked about um that's super important. I wanted to highlight um and get your opinion on um you talk about building trust you know and I think a lot of this is important if you were building trus. And  I know you've built trust over time with your podcast. How would you I mean your um your blog, How would you recommend someone that's kind of new starting to build trust online?

 

[18:40] Margo: that's a great question. So the first place I would start is who's going to say, tell the truth, but let's, let's assume you know that, um, don't lie. I really think there's a, there's a lesson inside of the copy workshop called customers. Not. And this idea of focusing on who you're actually talking to.

I think one of the best ways to engender trust is be really, really clear on who this is for. And one of the mistakes we made, I am so guilty of this. And if you Google me and look at my old stuff, you'll see it. So please don't do that. But there is a thing that happens when you have a background in the academy or in higher learning or education, or these really strong backgrounds that we have.

That we start speaking to the voices in our heads of old professors past or wanting to impress our colleagues or wanting, you know, the journal that ignored us and rejected our research, our grants to see that we're really doing a good job and that posturing takes over. And it really dilutes how you show up on the page.

And I think one of the hardest things to do with people with our background is to be able to set that aside, recognize it, acknowledge it, but put it in a different category. And I know that once I stopped competing with the academy and stop trying to get recognition, but from, from them, and by the way, you don't realize you're doing this half the time.

Like it takes a while to recognize that this has happened. Once I was able to let go that like no former professors, no researchers that I admire, like none of them were going to suddenly discover my blog and be like, wow, she's a genius. Like it was not going to happen. Cause I'm not doing research and I'm not publishing and I'm not in journals.

Like I'm not playing that game anymore, but I still want. You know, and so I think when you talk about engendering trust, I think we have to let go of the old success metrics that we used to measure ourselves by and focus on the new ones or the people that we seek to serve in this domain and talk to them directly because people like attracts like, so when you are sincere in how you show up, when you're not posturing, when you are not trying to prove something to people, when you just are able to say, Hey, I have this product, I think it can help you.

Here's. This is why I left that organization. Here's why I started this company. Here are the reasons why I think this coaching services for you and just speak from the heart in that way, the Tufts happens. Like it happens over time and, and it is built in drifts. Like you're, you're right to point that out.

Like it takes, it takes time, but it's also you showing up and being who you said you would. I think that leaders are not stupid. They know. So when you're posturing or when you are competing or you're trying to be something you're not like. That's shines through more than people realize. So that would be the first place.

[21:24] Pranay: We'll definitely talk about the copy workshop because I took that and it's life-changing uh, and another one you talk about is these voices and kind of having these voices in your head, you know, kind of just like you were saying that PI, you know, or your colleague, and a lot of times, one of the biggest fears for doctors when they want to start a business is what are my colleagues going to think?

 

You know, what are they going to say? You know? And that it keeps them from. From going out and making that impact, but it's, you know, who, who are you trying to help? Are you trying to help your patients? Are you trying to help your customers? Are you trying to look good in front of your colleagues? And I can tell you having helped hundreds of doctors launch businesses.

The usually the next time your colleagues talking to you is how, how did you do that? Could you teach me?

[22:09] Margo: That's the irony is that on the other side, they actually admire you. But if you do have to go through that middle part of being super self consciously, I do understand that, like, I think that in the beginning, we all are terrified that our colleagues are going to go put that hell, are they doing.

 

Oh, sorry. I don't know if I'm allowed to, they had such a promising career and they were on the up and up and now they're, you know, selling pens on the internet. Like, hi, here's, here's a helpful starting point. Um, we, I have my students go through and actually name the voices and say what they would say, but I think it's also helpful to just assume that the worst fear you have is happening.

Like, just go ahead. Somebody is gonna say. Someone is going to judge you. Someone's going to think that what you're doing is ridiculous. Someone's going to talk shit about you behind your back colleagues that you used to work with are going to be embarrassed, that they knew you you're going to be embarrassed.

Like let's start there with just owning that it's going to be. 'cause that's the only way you can get to the next stage, which is being free, being free because the truth is that kind of criticism doesn't come from a place of empowerment. It comes from fear. It comes from pettiness. It comes from people who are also stuck and unhappy.

There is no self-respecting successful doctor successful. And I mean, internally, not just financially, not just a pedigree, not just like published. I mean, if someone is actually in the arena doing the work, they are going to respect your hustle. Like no matter what domain you're in, and you will see that in the mentors who, who choose to keep up with you and be a champion.

For the work that you're doing, but for everyone else, they're going to be jerks. And that, and that is what it is when, when they're petty and frankly jealous. And so if you can just know that that's going to exist and then speak still directly to the people you seek to serve, it will clarify your messaging.

And speak to your customers in a way that will actually lead you to the success. You won't stay stuck because if you speak to the voices and try to pretend to compete with the people who are never going to be impressed with you, because you're not going to win that game, they will be impressed with you.

When you're in the new England journal of medicine, then they'll still hate you because they'll criticize, you know, your, your research methods. They will find something, those voices will never be happy. And so, yeah, they probably are saying all the things you're afraid about. Name them, acknowledge them and then say, Now go do your work.

[24:30] Pranay : ​​I know Tim Ferriss talks about, um, fear setting, um, kind of the same thing. Like what's the worst that can happen. You know, sometimes we're really good at coming up with bad things. So alongside that, I would recommend think about your life right now. If you didn't change anything, right. How is your life going to be like in five years, you know, three years, five years.

 

And you know, most of us are probably not going to be happy. Right. And, uh, in medicine, you know, we'll have more paperwork, we'll have to do more night shifts, you know, and our life isn't going to change for the better. So, you know, alongside that amazing, um, techniques that Margo just said, um, think about how, how is your life gonna change if you don't do anything? You know? And I promise most of us are going to think that things are worse,

[25:14] Margo: a hundred percent.

 

[25:15] Pranay : And Margot, one of the ways that I actually found you was I got, um, I was listening to Seth Godin's podcast, um, whom I adore, and that is such a, it's a great connection. And of course I was stricken by the copy that I got, uh, in the emails from the copy workshop.

So could you tell me a little bit about how you guys met and how you got associated with the copy workshop?

[25:38] Margo: yeah so Seth are good friends, but we, so here here's a perfect example of what happens when you start talking to the market and you aren't. Catering to the voices in your head. When I really broke free of the academy and my voice came out a lot stronger.

I got a lot of people on my email list. Following me and inbound opportunities started to happen in Seth was Seth started reading my stuff and reached out. And so we became friends. We had done some work together. Um, I did some copy work for Ulta MBA, and then we just developed a friendship. And truthfully, I was riffing about coffee one day and he's like, why don't you make this a workshop?

And I was like, yeah, I don't really feel like it. I don't want to be in this. And so I was, I was working on a book and in procrastination of the book, I wrote a book on copywriting instead, and I sent it to Seth and he's like, this is a workshop. Oh, um, so we, we teamed up in partnered up and, and, and truly what had, what had transpired.

For my I'm teaching nerds out there. If any of you had a, had a stint in teaching while you were in graduate school? I was really frustrated because I was teaching workshops online, doing a lot of writing workshops and people were telling me I was super smart and they loved my work and my ego was very fulfilled.

And I was like, this is great. I have these wonderful testimonials. All my students are happy. Everything's great. And then I looked at their work and I said, send me your stuff. And people weren't getting. And their copy, wasn't improving. And I thought, oh my God, I failed. Like what is happening? And so, um, that's when I called Seth back and I was like, okay, so you said that this was a workshop and you said that this would help people, but I'm not helping people.

And he goes, well, are you ready to talk about why lecture doesn't work? And you need to get people to actually write. And actually do the work that is embarrassing of putting things out there that might not be perfect. And I said, oh shoot. Yeah, I guess so. And that's when I partnered with akimbo because they have a cohort based learning model, which means that it's not about my content or lessons about copy it's about implementation and being able to actually take what you learned.

And use it in a very real or hypothetical context where you are putting it out in front of people and using the skill and half of the skill. And this is why it's relevant to, um, if you are starting a business or if you are doing coffee in your website or on your emails or in ads, is that you are coming from a place where you at the top of your.

Or at least felt like you were at the top of your game, and now you were starting a new skill that you feel like you should probably know because it's writing and you've been writing since you could talk, but all of a sudden it's not working and it's not aligned with what you had in your head and getting that connection between what you meant and what you said to come together.

It's really hard to go back to that beginner's mindset and learn this new skill when you are like, I should be further along. I am an impressive accomplished person. And now everyone's going to see that the emperor has no clothes. And so I really wanted to help people who are smart, who are successful and.

It's a really horrible feeling to have to start something when you are accomplished. And copywriting has this way of making and marketing too, of making smart people feel stupid. And I didn't want that. I really didn't want that. I think that you are smart and I do believe everyone who's listening to. Is already good at copy because it is a skill that you have as a human being, because it is the art and science of connection.

That's what it really is. And so if you understand how to connect to your spouse or to your child, or to a friend that you have the same skill, and it's just a matter of transferring it to paper

[29:15] Pranay: Margo how did you take your kind of lecture based. Um, education and converted into something that is more practical because you know, a lot of us have, you know, all in academia, we went through medical school, you know, we're, we're used to, okay, here's a 50 minute lecture.

 

And by the end you're going to be a rational human being and put it to work. Right. So how did you convert that? Because the reason that I actually took the copy workshop was because I wanted feedback, you know, all these courses that are, you know, Thousands of dollars and known to be pretty well in the, in kind of the copy industry.

There is no feedback, right? You do it and you do the homework, but that's it. There's zero feedback. So how did you kind of convert it from traditional to amazing kind of workshop?

[30:02] Margo: It was really hard. Let me tell you, cause I don't have a background in. And I also am one of those people who loves lectures.

Like I am, I am the weird 8% of people who finished courses and I do the homework, but I had the same frustration where I was like, I can't see my blind spots what's happened. So I will tell you, this is where Seth worked really closely with me and pushed me to focus, not on what I taught, but what I left out.

And he had me focused also on the prompts. He was like, the information is not the important part. What's important is what you asked them to do and how you frame the question. And so we went back and forth on that for like the better part of a year. And here's, here's kind of the way he would frame it to me.

So there's a concept in. Marketing called market sophistication and awareness levels. And most copy workshops will teach you markets of education and awareness levels on a scale from like one to five. And so what I saw was students would get really good at the scale. They would be like, okay, this is a five and sophistication, a four and awareness.

And, um, uh, they, they could label and they could identify, but then if I asked them, okay, what message do you need to approach someone at that level of market sophistication? They couldn't. And so Seth goes, okay, Margo, how do you teach market sophistication levels without using the word market sophistication?

And of course my ego is like, well, I will never do that because then no one will know I'm a smart genius. And so I had to put my ego aside, but really that's where the prompts that you probably did of the apartment. Is trying to teach, trying to use case studies. So I made up hypotheticals and, um, I would play around and I changed them every time, a little bit, but I see, I was able to watch in real time how people thought through a case study and what the students don't realize is students come in with the same thing, same bias I come in with, which is there's a right or wrong answer.

And we probably. 40 30% of students in the beginning because of this, they're like I wanted a right answer and they just drop off. They disappear. They're like, you're not giving you the answers and they're angry. Um, and what they don't realize is what you learn is contending with the prompt and realizing that real life there is no right answer.

And I'm trying to show you how to think about these problems and how to solve them for yourself. And I will give you the frameworks and I will give you, um, some rails and some guards. But within it, you're going to have to learn to trust yourself and you're going to have to learn to make mistakes. And so that's sort of how we thought about, you know, something like market sophistication level.

So to give your listeners an example, we would create a scenario where it's like, you want a parking lot, and there are some cars that are not parking correctly. You have to write a flyer that you put in their windshield that has them a park. Well, what do you need to know to write. And just answering if you don't even need to write the letter to get the lesson because the lesson is, well, I need to know as this 16 year old, um, have they driven before?

Are they doing this? Because they're late in they're pissed is my signage bad. Like all the types of questions you would want someone to ask before they wrote that letter. And that is how you get someone in the mindset of truly internalizing the lesson, which is what we sought to do. All of a sudden we saw students get it and they were applying it to their own work.

They were applying it to their own companies. They were seeing it in action, but they still didn't know the phrase market sophistication. So I did feel a little ashamed about that, but, um, but they got the more important these,

[33:32] Pranay: Yeah you just mentioned it I was like did I miss that lectureYeah. Yeah. It's funny. It's, you know, uh, a lot of times as teachers, we want people to know what those terms mean and when it feels successful, like, oh, Hey, now they know what this means, you know, but you're right. If they can apply it, like, it doesn't mean anything.

 

[33:53] Margo: Oh, my ego really took a hit with this. Cause I I'll tell you. Cause it was hard for me as like. Overachieving a type personality that I was like, I will get an and all the tests. I will know all the words and my students will know them too. And it just, the truth is they, what I saw happen before I partnered with a Kimbo and created the copy workshop, the other version of this was called headline school and students got really good.

Naming things. And they would know the lessons and they could recite them back to me, but they didn't. Right. And that's how I knew I had to put my ego out the window and not think about traditional education or even traditional success metrics and simply look at outcomes and what my students were doing.

And it's the same thing we were talking about earlier. Being afraid of what your colleagues thought. Right? Because I was afraid of marketing bros going through and being like this isn't coffee. And I'm like, it's not for you. It's not for you. I wanted, I wanted people like you to come through and feel like you could actually write something. Well, when you got that

[34:55] Pranay: And a lot of times that's who we were thinking about right. Of, there are people who have online courses that teach copy, and they're going to feel so smug because all of their students know what market sophistication is and can rate it from five, you know, And does it really matter? I mean, what's the, what's the end goal that you want.

 

You want people who can write better copy. Right. And not necessarily teach them. Cause I mean, it's the same problem with higher ed right now. Right. A lot of times, um, it takes so much more effort to grade an essay or, you know, short answer you just put in rate is copy from one to five, you know, and that's an easy question.

You could do a multiple choice. It doesn't take any time.

[35:38] Margo: Part of what it takes to be good at copy. And I think this is true for sales. This is true for marketing. This is true for business is failing a lot and getting it wrong a lot. And that was the secret lesson that I actually wanted to teach it.

 

Wasn't the specifics of copy, but it was what it takes to stay in the. And that, and I wanted people to have a safe container for it. So I wanted our students to be able to put something out that they're maybe not super proud of, or they wouldn't want their colleagues to see, but be able to do it in a place where no one would see it except each other.

So you still have that tension of real people seeing it and you failing in public, but not it being so public that it is on the internet for everyone to see. And because that is the skill, right. You, when you're writing an offer, when you are positioning your business for your company, when you are writing an ad, like it really is.

And no one, no one does this better than Seth. I mean, I don't even think people realize how often he fails in public. And no one even knows that like everyone puts him on such a pedestal and he is just willing to do more and more at bats. He's like, oh, try it. Let's see. Oh, that didn't work. Let's try it again.

And then it's ours. The intuitions, you develop the skills, you start to recognize patterns in yourself and in the market and where the two intersect and that's where the magic happens.

 

[36:52] Pranay:  Yeah I mean, I've really been reading his blog for years every day. Um, and most of them are hits, but every once in a while, So that, that didn't really make sense, but not a big deal.

 

He'll have another one tomorrow. It's probably going to be viral, you know? And it just, it just makes you feel better that, you know, this person who's amazing at copy, you know, but that's the other thing you talk about just publishing, just sending it out. You know, he knows every day he has to have a blog post out, you know, if it sucks, it sucks.

Like, you know, and he's built it, built it over time that most of the time it's pretty good, you know, but everyone's all. Kind of confusing, you know, and that's fine.

[37:28] Margo: Yes. And let me put an important distinction in this, because this is not a license to be sloppy because I think a lot of people misunderstand what that means.

When we say put out the work, what we mean is have a commitment to the creative process, to doing an at-bat, to putting out an offer, to making a sale, to pitching to whatever it is that marketing and sales activity that you're going to do. Commit to the process of doing it, not to the outcome, because if you were trying to commit to the outcome, especially if that outcome that you're trying to engender is approval from.

You're not going to win. The reason stuff can do that. And it doesn't wound his ego is because he doesn't care if you liked or didn't like it, he is going to just write his ideas and he's committed to improving the ideas and whether they land or not is, is, it's not just luck. I mean, obviously, you know what you're doing at a certain point, but that's not what.

Right. The goal is to improve the idea. And so the same is true. If you're going out there and you're selling and you're using copywriting, the goal is, of course you want to sell, right? Of course we want to make sales, but the thing you want to commit yourself to, cause you cannot, we cannot manipulate a market without getting arrested.

But like, I guess you can, but that's not our goal. Our goal is you put out an offer, you see if it works, like your commitment is to the. It's true. Did I position it? Right. Okay. I didn't, this didn't work. Let's try again. Let's try a different positioning. Let's try a different pricing model. Let's play with what perspectives we use.

Let's play with, um, the different variables within behavioral economics that can shift your perspective or change the frame, or maybe we'll use a different word, maybe a different headline, like play within, but your commitment is to the process into the work. Once you throw it out and it is. Then it's up to the market to decide whether or not they want to buy from you or engage with you or be with you like that.

You cannot actually make people do something they don't.

[39:21] Pranay: That is it. I realized that most of us doctors were perfectionists, you know, to get into medical school. Um, we had to really just get all A's right. So you drop a class. If you know, you're going to get a, B or lower, you don't do an extracurricular.

If you're not going to get this amazing recommendation, you try to get all the awards. And if you're going to be second placement, don't do it. Right. Um, and so a lot of us carry on. In our psyche and fear when we're trying to do something outside of medicine. Right? So don't start that coaching career.

Don't put out that podcast. Don't do it unless, you know, you're going to be a star and unless you're famous, you're famous doctor for most of us, it's going to be a lot of failures until we,

[40:02] Margo: I understand as a recovering perfectionist myself, I remember being totally deflated the first time. I submitted my thesis and I was really upset about it for a, you know, insert reasons.

Um, and my father was like, you know, you just gotta be okay with good enough sometimes. And I thought I was gonna punch him in the face. Like, I didn't actually feel inspired. I was like, what is wrong with you? I just worked my ass off for the better part of years. And like, that's your answer? Absolutely unacceptable.

Like, it was just not inspiring to me whatsoever. I thought that was just quitting. Right. I'll tell you a reframe that. 'cause I, I actually don't think perfectionism is bad when it's applied to the right things and comes from a place of caring about quality. So for me, I am a perfectionist about my voice at that.

That is the thing that I will not cut corners on. I will stop the presses if it is not right. Um, and I'm very proud of. But that means that there are other things that can't get my a hundred percent attention and mistakes are going to be made. And in those domains, I've had to learn that my perfectionism is holding back.

Holding me back from the things that I actually want to achieve and that the engine still works. And it's being fueled in those scenarios by a desire by the wrong things. So like for example, I was micromanaging a lot, my staff that that's not actually perfectionism, that's good or helpful, like your staff's going to make mistakes.

It's going to reflect poorly. That is something that you should work out with your therapist and, and that did, um, you know what I mean? Like that's the kind of thing where if you actually care about what you're trying to build, you do need to develop the muscle to go. This is not the correct application of my high achievement skills.

And, and truly, if you want to call yourself a perfectionist high achiever, get good at letting other people do things, you know, like that, that was how I reapplied it. I think another place, another reframe that was really helpful to me is to notice the difference in myself between perfectionism that was fueling higher quality work versus perfectionism.

That was keeping me small and keeping me hiding and really me making excuse. And I think that as professionals and high high-achieving people AE types, um, we're not good at that distinction. We really aren't. And it's really important that we know for ourselves, a gut check of where we are committed to quality, and that is admirable and where we are holding ourselves back and calling ourselves perfectionist when really we're hiding and making it.

[42:37] Pranay: You know, a lot of fear that people have when they start doing copy or really marketing themselves it's they don't want to come off as scummy car salesman. Yanno, I know you've talked about this extensively, but could you just give us some advice on how to find your voice without sounding like

 

[42:55] Margo: a used car salesman, like a used car salesman?

Let's start there. You don't have to, you don't need to, if you would like to do some really light lovely reading, Dan pink has an awesome book called to sell is human highly recommended. It was regulatory for me at the time because he is pretty academic and he makes the case for why. Sales skills. Aren't what you think they are.

Um, and he uses fun, Latin and science. So it's good for us, nerdy people. I don't know that I would recommend it in the copy workshop, but it is a phenomenal work. And, um, so, but, but for more practical, like on the ground, what to do, you know, I think people mistaken feeling like they're being pushy or a used car salesman with the discomfort of putting yourself out there.

It is going to feel weird the first few times you do this, no matter what, even if you are the most respectful, humble person, full of integrity and goodness in the world, like you are going to feel very odd. The first time you put you, you put a shingle out and you're like, Hey, I'm still exhausted. I made this, like, it's so odd.

And so I, I think of it as, um, you know, we, we seem to understand this physically. So if you are someone who has never run before and you want to learn to run a. You don't sit there and be like, judge yourself for not being good at that first mile and getting it right. And, and all of that, you understand that like maybe first you should buy a sports bra and have the right pair of shoes and some socks.

And, and then like maybe walk around the block one or two times, uh, and then like learn slope. Maybe you. Maybe you jog two blocks, maybe you run only 10 minutes and as slow as possible. Like, I, I think we understand that physically, you build this muscle to be able to have these skills and it's awkward in the beginning.

Like if you are a person who's never been to the gym and go to the gym, you feel you're like, everyone's looking at you and they know that you don't deserve to be here. Right. And that you would have no idea what you're doing. And you're the only person that's on a machine that they have to read the instructions that you're not totally sure you're doing it.

Right. Like that is what it feels like in. That is what it's gonna feel like when you're selling. That is what it's gonna feel like when you haven't done this skill before. And so I think give yourself some compassion and cut yourself some slack that like this is going to be an awkward, new and awkward phase as you build this skill and get more comfortable.

So that's one and I think too, the next most important thing is to stop thinking about you. Put your perspective on the person you seek to serve. So your two w when we feel like, oh, I'm being pushy, oh, I'm being boastful. That's because you're thinking, what are people thinking about me? I don't want you asking that question when you do copy.

What I want you to do is go the person who has the problem, I solve the person who needs, these sucks, the person who wants to eat this chocolate, this person who is stressed out and they need my coaching services, what do they need? How can I help them? And the answer, like your approach, your posture changes because it's no longer about how do I sound it's more about what do they need to hear?

That is the question I want you to ask yourself, what do they need to hear? They need to hear. I'm selling socks. They're for sale. You won't get blisters anymore. They're the most comfortable socks you've ever had in your life. 25 patents on them, 400,000 people have already bought them. The super famous person tweeted about it.

Like it no longer sounds like bragging it no longer sounds like you're pushing. It just sounds. That's what you want to be your copywriting, your selling. It's actually helpful because what I am is a person or your, your, um, your market, right? The, the people who are on the other side of this exchange, the people reading the copy, presumably they what's the thing you have.

They have a problem that it solves. So help them help them solve it. Say, here is why this is going to solve your problem. Here is why these socks are awesome. Here's why you're going to want this. These flowers for your wife, like here is, you know, whatever it is, but like, We need help making decisions right.

All day long. Like I'm not going through my life. Wondering why I should sign up as a, as a client for your coaching. That's not how I go through life, but I am going through my life thinking about the problems I have and thinking about how stressed I am. And so if you write an ad or a blog post, or put a sales offer in front of me, that's like, Hey, are you so tired of being told, blah, blah, blah.

And I'm like, yeah, I am. Thank you. And then, and then you add some tension, something like, well, you know, on Friday, Uh, you know, we're going to have a webinar and you'll get 50% off of this thing. And now you've added an incentive for me to actually follow through. You're doing me a favor. You're helping me make a decision.

And I don't have to think because ultimately you don't want people to have to think you don't want to make them do more work because we're already maxed out. We're tired. We're cognitively overloaded and lazy, and you're competing with inertia at all times. The reframe I want you to think about is what does the person on the other end of your copy need to hear?

Not? Are they gonna like me? What do I sound like? I'm so afraid of being annoying. That's me centric sinking. I want you to turn to other centric thinking and ask yourself how you can help the person on the other end of the 16.

[48:07] Pranay: That's amazing you know I think a lot of times it's just us being in our heads right and we're our own worst enemy you know. What are other people gonna think what if they think I'm scummy I mean.

 

[48:17] Margo: Uh, and they might like, that's a thing. And those kids, I think, no matter what happens when you put yourself out there, people are going to think those things and. Like, I, I know I sound like I'm screaming at y'all pot calling the kettle black.

I mean, this is, I started in this space because in, in Al of our defenses, this is not how we're taught about. We are, I mean, think about every cover letter you've had to write every admissions essay. You've had to write every residency application, every grant you've applied for it. Like, it's always, what makes you COVID why are you the right person for this?

Like you're constantly on the defensive and fostering. Assert yourself as to why you deserve to be here. So it is really, really revolutionary to shift your mindset in this way, which is why I beg of you be patient and have compassion like this. You'll get there, but it is a huge paradigm shift for us. We aren't.

[49:11] Pranay: ​​Yeah. And talking about compassion, you know, when you first made that change to, uh, being a copywriter, starting copy. Uh, is there anything that you think you spent too much time on and kind of just wish that you had done differently?

 

[49:26] Margo:  Um, yes. I think I spent a little too much time learning copy and not enough time writing it in public where something was on the line.

Like I spent a little too much. Practicing in private. And I think there that the lessons I learned from doing it in public. Uh, and what I mean by, in public is not just in front of an audience, but where I had interaction with the market where I was running an ad, and I could see what happened, where I had a client, I was writing emails and I could see what were the open rates?

What were the click-through rates? What were the forwards or the unsubscribes? Like what a, uh, a landing page, like what was happening on it in real time? Uh, that, that taught me so much more than sitting in my room in my office, trying to like perfect a hypothetical page that wasn't going to go in. Um, I really think that interaction with the market teaches you almost everything you need to know.

And, and, and you will also be shocked. Like I remember watching and people now who. 10 times more successful than me who didn't spend the time doing what I was doing. And they just wrote garbage copy, um, on the internet that was like, good enough. Like what my dad said, like, it was good enough, but it wasn't perfect.

And this is where my perfectionism was getting in the way. Cause I'm like, that's the wrong word? That's the wrong tactic. They used the wrong angle here, but you know what? They understood that I didn't, they tapped into demand. They knew. But if you are clear with your offer, even the wrong positioning can actually get you somewhere far enough where you can play and you can tweak, and it's the internet.

It's not forever. So you could change the price. You can change the name, you can change the headline, you can change the angle. And now those people are running multi-million dollar businesses, and you should see their first sales pages. They were garbage and, and I'm so proud of them. And I, and I think about that all the time when I teach my students and like, that's what I wish I had known is that I didn't spend so much time doing it perfectly.

But, you know, pontificating over every word because I was, I mean, I was a literature major who ended up in graduate school for science. So like, I am such a perfectionist when it comes to language and you don't need it, it doesn't serve you

[51:29] Pranay: Well that was amazing and what a great place to end. Margo for people that want to take the copy workshop and I highly recommend it and reach out to you could you give us. What's the best way to do that?

 

[51:40] Margo: Absolutely well you can get on my email list at www.thatseemsimportant.com. I will announce it there. If you want to read details about the copy workshop, you can head over to akimbo and click on the copy workshop. Uh, listing. I believe the sales page is open and sign up to learn more, but I will announce it if you follow me on, uh, my newsletter or on Instagram, I'm at Margo Aaron.

Um, both those places. I'm pretty sure.

[52:06] Pranay: Awesome, Thank you so much Margo I appreciate it

 

[52:09 Margo: Thank you for having me


 

[52:12] Closing Statement

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